Why you should care
Because if you don’t, who will?
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Picture vs. 1,000 Words
EUGENE, SIR: My girlfriend had an active sex life before we met. She’s been totally up front about this. Our community of friends is small, so I would have figured it out, but it was nicer that she told me first. This is not a problem. The problem is, she is having a problem with one of her exes. He refuses to give her back photos and videos of them together. Yes, those kinds of photos and videos. He’s only hinted at doing something ass-ish with them, like showing them to friends of theirs for some bullshit “art” project he claims to be doing. She is distressed by all of this. I’m not much of a fighter, but I think I should do something. But what? At the very least, I could appeal to his sense of justice, but on what grounds? And are there laws covering this? — Name withheld by request
Dear Siskel’d Ebert: In California, they’ve passed a revenge porn law, so you could appeal to that, if the ex is a man with whom reason might work. But it seems to me that he might be smarter than the average bear since “revenge” is in the eye of the beholder and if he could make the claim that his dissemination of the videos and photos was not done to shame but to celebrate, he might have a leg to stand on. Knocking that leg out probably starts with your girlfriend letting him know that she’s not interested in having this happen. Now, I’m no lawyer, but I suspect a certified letter requesting he “cease and desist” might be a good start.
Of course this could also be akin to trying to kill a fly with a sledgehammer: more trouble than it’s worth and lots of effort to boot. Also, while I can understand wanting to seem like a knight in shining armor and wanting to offer aid, this doesn’t really seem to be your problem. I mean, yes, to a certain extent your girlfriend’s problems become your problems, but I would make the philosophical claim that porn is so ubiquitous now, that outside of a small circle of unhealthily interested friends, who cares? The first man convicted in California went professional with his ex’s photos and sent them to her job!
Dirty pool no matter how you look at it. This, unless he chooses to call it, My Penis + Sarah: A Study, is probably just an idle threat to irk an ex and, frankly, you. And it’s worked. Perhaps he’ll now screw off, leaving you to do the heavy lifting of trying to get her to green-light your future filming efforts. Yeah: Got you, you dirty bird, you.
EUGENE, SIR: I just cheated on my husband. We have been married since we were 25; we are 42 now. When I thought, “I’ll never have sex with a man other than him until I die,” I started to panic, I guess. So I went on Match.com, used a fake name to create a profile, and picked a man. Not because he was handsome — he wasn’t that much — or very interesting, but because he was close by. We emailed back and forth. Things got steamy. We decided to meet, and it was surprisingly great. Great enough that I know if I keep it up, I will want to leave my husband. I don’t want to leave my husband. My lover wants to meet again. Should I just blow this whole thing up, confess, rededicate myself to my marriage and send my lover packing? And if so, is there a safe and sensitive way to do this? — Jane
Dear Tarzan Might Be a Little Peeved: You had some long-termer’s anxiety. I want to say it’s common, but it dawns on me that I have no idea if it is or not. I just know that it’s common among and amid people who write to sex advice columnists. I have ideas of why this is, from a consumer culture fueled on MORE to humans not being especially well suited for the various monotonies of monogamy, but reasons are for when the horse is still in the barn and it might help to close the barn door. Your horse has fled, and though this one has returned, chastened and slightly chill, it’s confused about whether it wants a whole lot more agita in its life. Or not.
My suggestion? If this was a one-off? Say nothing. Many affairs come and go without the other partner knowing and of course caring. This could be you. Unless you want the problem-solving attentions that will come from a well-timed revelation. And no, there’s no way to bring this up gently. So it depends how you want to spend the next 12 years: tears and bitter recrimination and a totally unhelpful venting of discontents? Or: you redoubling your efforts to improve your current deal and move on older, wiser and temporarily sated by your flirtation with strange?
The choice is yours!
EUGENE, SIR: I want to increase my duration during intercourse. My wife is not satisfied with the short time of our sex. Please suggest something. — Hashi
Dear Checkers?: Increase the amount of time you spend on foreplay. Which means not just kissing, but using your mouth. All over her. As you get more adept at this, she might even have an orgasm or 20. The point is, and there’s no other way to put this: She gets her orgasm first. Then the time to your orgasm? A little less important to her, I imagine. Good luck.